Economic Partnership Agreement to boost exports to EU – Ambassador
Ghanaian companies exporting products to the EU market should enjoy reduced prices on their goods should the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) be fully passed by Parliament.
The agreement, which was signed by Ghana and the EU in August and December 2016 respectively, covers goods and development cooperation.
The agreement when fully passed will also offer EU duty-free market access into Ghana for 80 percent of tariff lines.
This will also be gradually liberalized over a period of 15 years.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna said the agreement when fully passed, will also warrant massive investment from across the globe into Ghana.
“The EU is Ghana’s biggest trading partner and investor and indeed development partner, but as we know, the government is going beyond aid. As the aid reduces, the trade and investment part must increase and Ghana already has a hundred percent access to the European market for both agricultural and industrial produce,” he said.
He added that the move will make Ghana very competitive on the European market.
“If you add value to the export, they become a hundred percent duty-free. Take cocoa, for example, if you process it here in Ghana, it still gets into our market one hundred percent duty-free. So there is an opportunity there in our market. We see Ghana doing well already; competing in our markets and lots of other possibilities in the future to add value in Ghana and also to access our market,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hanna has assured of the EU’s commitment to bringing more investments to Ghana.
“We are also interested in bringing investments into Ghana. We are all looking at that as an opportunity and I think we can work well together,” he maintained.
The European Union remains Ghana’s most important and reliable partner with over 2,3 billion euro of export to the EU in 2016 and 4,6 billion Euros of foreign direct investment.
The European Union in October 2015 placed a temporary ban on export of vegetables from Ghana to their region as they claimed it did not meet their quality standards.
In November last year, it lifted the ban it placed on the export of five Ghanaian vegetables to the EU Market.
The five vegetables are chilli pepper, bottle gourds, luffa gourds, bitter gourds, and eggplants.
M. Hanna tells Citi Business News Ghanaian farmers are now able to export all plant commodities to the EU market completely duty-free and quota-free.
The European Union earlier awarded a 7.2 million Euro grant to two banana-producing companies, Golden Exotic limited and Volta River Estates limited to aid in the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) for Ghana project.
The initiative also followed records of dwindling figures in banana exports from Ghana to the European markets.